Pipeline Installed to Drain Reservoir
Residents and visitors will notice construction activity from Power Plant Road all the way up to Thomas Reservoir while workers install a 42-inch pipeline.

The pipeline will serve as an evacuation line for Thomas Reservoir and will potentially aid in hydropower production. 

The City of Aspen is applying for a federal license for the Castle Creek Hydro Project. During the process of hiring experts to complete the application, the City found out that it had to install a drainage pipeline from Thomas Reservoir to safely evacuate the reservoir in the event of an overflow. The City is working with the state’s Dam Safety Branch on the safe evacuation.

“Whether or not our hydro project is approved and moves forward, we still have to build this pipeline to work as an evacuation line in the event of a reservoir breach or overflow. When the reservoir was built, the hospital wasn’t there, along with many of the homes in the area. It was also the 1960s, and safety standards were different then,” said David Hornbacher, deputy director of utilities and renewable energy. “In a nutshell, we currently have two 30-inch pipelines going into the reservoir and only one, 24-inch pipe going out. We have to fix that, regardless of whether this pipeline is later used in the hydro project.”

Workers have begun clearing vegetation along the pipeline route, and Power Plant Road will be partially closed from Harbour Lane to Cemetery Lane from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 14 and 17. It will be completely closed June 15 and 16, except for local traffic.

Travelers are instructed to use Hwy 82 as an alternate route. 

“There will be some inconvenient moments during this construction process, but we’re doing everything we can to minimize those impacts,” Hornbacher said. “We are also pursuing an intensive revegetation process following the pipeline completion.”

The pipeline’s path will, for the most part, be following the 1893 pipeline that delivered water to the original Castle Creek Hydro Facility until it closed in 1958.

Meanwhile, the City is still moving forward on obtaining a permit from the federal government to move forward with the Castle Creek Hydro Project.

Studies on stream flow associated with operation of the hydro facility are currently under technical review by local and state officials, and results of the study will be shared at a public forum on Wednesday, June 16, at 5 p.m. at ACES, 100 Puppy Smith St.

Public comment will be solicited on the Castle Creek Hydro Project. More information click here.

Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2010